Some Offbeat Panels to Check Out at San Diego Comic Con

This year’s San Diego Comic Con will bring the usual barrage of updates on our favorite sci-fi/fantasy movies and TV shows, but even if you can’t get into Hall H there’s still a lot of REALLY weird new stuff to check out. Below is a short list of off-the-beaten-path panels to keep in mind while you wander the convention center!

All times are in PST and are taken from the SDCC schedule portal.


Thursday, July 21

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets – 1:00 PM, Hall H

This is in Hall H so it’s not EXACTLY off the beaten path, and yet no one seems to be talking about this film:

Special operatives Valerian and Laureline embark on a mission to the breathtaking intergalactic city of Alpha, an ever-expanding metropolis made up of thousands of species from all corners of the universe. Alpha’s 17 million inhabitants have converged over time, uniting their talents, technology, and resources for the betterment of all.

So basically this is The Fifth Element creator Luc Besson trying to out-crazy himself? Sounds like a good time is guaranteed.


Adapting Octavia Butler: The Making of Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation – 1:00 PM, Room 9

A conversation with artist John Jennings (The Blacker the Ink) and writer Damian Duffy (Black Comix) about their process translating Butler’s fierce prose into the forthcoming graphic adaption, published by Abrams ComicArts.

This was announced three years ago and now it’s finally hitting shelves in January. Very curious to see how they adapted this story, as it seems well-suited to visual mediums.


Fantasy Mixology: The Perfect Literary Cocktail – 3:00 PM, Horton Grand Theatre

Top-shelf authors Paul Cornell (Witches of Lychford), Kevin Hearne (The Iron Druid Chronicles), Richard Kadrey (Perdition Score), Paul Krueger (Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge), Drew Magary (The Hike), and Mary Robinette Kowal (Ghost Talkers and The Glamourist series) discuss the ingredients that go into making your favorite fantasy cocktails.

I mean the description is probably referring to stories but it seems like there’s a good chance that real cocktails will figure into this panel at some point and then everyone will leave the panel as new best friends forever. Cheershh!


Geek’s More Greatest Movies & TV Never Made: The Threequel – 4:00 PM, Room 23ABC

Take another look back at some of the greatest genre projects that never made it to the silver and small screens, ranging from Star Trek: The Academy Years and The Beginning, two Trek prequels that were never produced.

Star Trek fans, you really REALLY want to hear about The Beginning. It’s such a thrilling space opera trilogy concept that it’s almost criminal that it was never produced. I’m still holding out hope that this is what the new TV series will end up being.

The panel will also talk about E.T. 2, but apparently there was already an authorized sequel novel? And it mostly dealt with Elliott discovering girls and E.T. being horrified?


Death and the High Cost of Resurrection – 6:30 PM, Room 26AB

Lots of Tor authors–Seanan McGuire, Paul Cornell, Mary Robinette Kowal–talk about whether “dead means dead” in comic books and fiction. Also the director of Sharknado will be there.


Deleted Scenes – 7:30 PM, Room 4

Editing a book is no easy feat, especially for the person who wrote that book. Authors Kevin Hearne (Iron Druid Chronicles), Michael J. Sullivan (Age of Myth), and Harry Turtledove (Fallout) each read a deleted scene from a published novel and discuss why it landed on the cutting room floor. Moderated by Del Rey editorial director Tricia Narwani.

Deleted scenes from books are difficult to wrangle. (Oh, we’ve tried!) This should be a super interesting panel.


Friday, July 22

Ben Hatke in Conversation with Patrick Rothfuss – 11:00 AM, Room 4

Obviously this is going to be great.


Captain America: Civil War Screenwriting Q&A – 1:00 PM, Horton Grand Theatre

::eyebrow raise:: Civil War is a very interestingly structured movie, serving roughly ten million different masters (Put in Spider-Man! Make Ant-Man interesting! Introduce Black Panther like whoa!) while keeping the emotional story between Stark, Cap, and Bucky front and center. Not only that, but it brings to a close the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 2 arc. I have a million questions for these guys and I imagine most other folks do, as well.


Star Trek: Five Decades of Comics – 1:30 PM, Room 8

Five decades have produced some gloriously weird Star Trek comics. Like this one where armed house cats take over the Enterprise:

Star Trek comics cats

Boldly go…to this panel.


The Tick: The First 30 Years – 2:30 PM, Horton Grand Theatre

There’s usually a panel on The Tick every year but this…THIS TIME:

…a revealing inside look at The Tick‘s next big thing!

Amazon recently ordered a pilot for a live-action revival of The Tick. Might we see the new cast revealed?


Science Fiction/Future Now – 4:30 PM, Room 26AB

It’s a big question, and one that certainly comes up a lot in the office: Now that the science fiction future is our present day, what then is there to dream of?

Join Madeline Ashby (Company Town), Cecil Castellucci (Tin Star),Emily Lakdawalla (The Planetary Society), Javier Grillo-Marxuach (The 100), Sherri L Smith (Orleans), and Greg Van Eekhout (The Boy at the End of the World) in a roundtable discussion as they take this subject on.


Spotlight on J. Michael Straczynski – 5:30 PM, Room 6DE

Sense8, Sense8, Sense8 season 2! There are no Wachowskis present at this year’s SDCC and we’re hungry for news about the show.


What’s Up With Penguin – 7:00 PM, 23ABC

I’m curious what sci-fi/fantasy imprints DAW and Ace/Roc are bringing around later this year, but also I just like saying the phrase “What’s up with Penguin?” as if I live in West Side Story and Penguin is my gang-mate.


Saturday, July 23

Creating Universes – 11:30 AM, Horton Grand Theatre

This panel is basically artist Rob Prior creating an interpretive painting on stage while Neil deGrasse Tyson talks about the cosmos.



A World After Harry: The Changing Genre of YA Fantasy – 1:00 PM, Room 28DE

This question has lingered for so long in the publishing industry that the answer has become, essentially “more Harry Potter.” Even though Potter and Rowling’s wizarding world are back on the scene, YA authors ask whether epic fantasy can become a permanent sub-genre within YA or whether there’s only interest for ol’ HP himself.


What’s New From Del Rey Books – 7:00 PM, Room 9

…preview other books to come in 2016 and 2017 from Terry Brooks, China Mieville, Naomi Novik, Star Wars, Minecraft, StarCraft, and more.

Yes. Yes to all of that.


Mystery Science Theater 3000 is Back – 8:30 PM, 24ABC

For those of us who backed the MST3K revival Kickstarter earlier this year (and that’s a good amount of us here in the office) this is one of the most important panels at SDCC 2016! Joel’s backer updates have hinted that we should expect lots of reveals: premiere date, the network or streaming service it’ll be on, the movies that’ll be riffed on, Felicia Day in character as the new mad scientist… We haven’t been this excited since that magic belt gave us Puma Man powers!


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